Rugby League: Kells 4 - 14 Mayfield
Date published: 28 January 2019
Mayfield progressed to the second round of the Coral Challenge Cup on Saturday 26 January 2019 with a hard fought but very satisfying win at Kells.
In a torrential downpour which lasted throughout the whole game and was interspersed with stinging hail at times, Mayfield put in nothing short of a heroic performance to overcome a well drilled well-disciplined side on their own ground.
It was clear from the kick off that this was not going to be a game for the purist with conditions dictating play and preventing both sides from moving the ball about.
Defences were definitely on top with some brilliant tackling from Mayfield to restrict the Kells opportunities.
In fact, Kells only managed to make it to the Mayfield 20 metre line on three or four occasions in the whole of the first half.
Mayfield coach Sam Butterworth sensed it was going to be a tight game and instructed his players to take the two points on offer as they were awarded a penalty within kicking range, the impressive Zac Hartley slotted it between the sticks to give his side the lead 0 - 2. It was a lead they were never to surrender.
The Mayfield pack did their best to break the line with Lewis Sheridan and Cole Connolly organising the superb pack as they pummelled the Kells line it was only a matter of time before big Aidy Gleeeson powered over the try line for Hartley to convert and make the score 0 - 8.
Both sides were struggling to retain possession in the driving rain and freezing conditions and both sides deserve a lot of credit for the way they stuck to the task, driving the ball in and repelling the attacks in turn.
The home side capitalised on a Mayfield mistake kicking the ball down field where it was fumbled again and again Kells pounced on the mistake, kicking down field and winning the race to touch down out wide. 4 - 8 half time.
Kells started the second half buoyed their late first half score and they really lifted their game and if possible, their effort.
They threw everything at Mayfield in an attempt to pull the game back, but Mayfield responded brilliantly with a defensive display rarely seen, with every man on the field working hard for the man next to him.
They frustrated the opposition time and time again as they pressed the Mayfield try line.
Brilliant kicks through from the Kells stand-off were fielded on the line in conditions that made it extremely difficult to pick up the ball let alone collect it under the pressure of a big Cumbrian pack bearing down on you.
It truly was difficult to single players out for mention as they all ran and tackled themselves to a standstill but again with seconds remaining the forwards bulldozed their way up field through Jimmy Connaughton, Mark Biggins, and Aidan Gleeson, with the Kells players feeling the result of their efforts down field.
Cole Connolly spotted a gap and coasted through for the try that sealed the game for Mayfield, Hartley slotted over a brilliant conversion in the pouring rain and wind.
There were loud celebrations as the final whistle went and Mayfield claimed a well-deserved hard earned 4 - 14 victory.
Mayfield coaches Sam Butterworth and Steve Wood were over the moon with win but as they both said later it wasn't just the win, it was the manner in which they played that was most pleasing.
Sam Butterworth said: “The effort was fantastic, the team played for each other and tried to push forward at every opportunity. There was no complaining, no moaning and discipline was much improved.
“We did what we had to do today, we ground out the win. We dug in when we had to, and we went forward when we could. The two tries were well taken, and I think we well deserved the victory.
“We out muscled them down the middle where Connaughton and Zac Baker were immense, and we held them out wide where Munya Samanyanga and Lewis Butterworth put in a good shift.
“But every man who turned out today deserves a medal for the way they conducted themselves, not only beating Kells, but beating the elements as well.
“Fingers crossed now for a home draw in round two which will be played on the 9 or 10 February.
“We travelled up to Cumbria on Friday night and I’d like to thank the Calvert Trust who hosted us.
“It was a great experience and the lads really benefited from it. All in all this was a very satisfying weekend.”
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